Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Working from home – Tagata Pasifika edition

Our first week of ‘bubble’ work. Photo / supplied

Tagata Pasifika Reporter Alistar Kata shares what it’s been like for our team to work from home over the last couple of weeks. 

Kitchen benches, makeshift shelves, coffee tables, bedrooms, backyards and 1920s bungalows are all perfectly acceptable workspaces for our team during lockdown. We’ve had two weeks of figuring out the tricks of working from home, and so far, so good.

Producer John Utanga has “learnt how to make a rattle from plastic cups”, an essential skill when you live in a multi-generational household of 10 with three children under-five.

John in the most adorable isolation bubble you will see today. Photo / Supplied

There are three adults in the household all working from home, competing for space and quiet – and the internet. His 7-year-old mokopuna “hogs all the internet bandwidth on Fortnite, and at any one time, you could have nine people online”.

Though this should make John want to throw his laptop out the window, he’s juggling babysitting duties, Zoom meetings and everything else pretty successfully. His pro tip? “Stay in your bubble, and learn to bake cupcakes.”

While John wins the award for ‘Most People in a Household’, the rest of the team aren’t immune to distractions either. Executive Producer Taualeo’o Stephen Stehlin’s office is his front bedroom. His biggest distraction is his bed. Surely anyone who wakes up at 5am deserves a nap.

“I am an old person, so I naturally wake up at 5am,” he says. “It’s super frustrating, so I go for a run. My colleagues doubt this, but I have the proof – just look at my Facebook page!”

Proof: Taualeo’o and his evidence. Photo / Supplied

For those who aren’t distracted by our beds, there’s always our fridges and pantries. Producer Ngaire Fuata has taken over her kitchen table. “Luckily, I have an extendable table so we can still have a meal at the other end of it, just,” she says.

“Because I don’t have office distractions aka Stephen Stehlin, I seem to be getting through more stuff… I am in the kitchen, though, so food is too easy to reach. Oh, and the wine.”

Ngaire working and probably running the world from her kitchen table. Photo / Supplied

It may look like Ngaire also works part-time security with her multiple-screen set-up, but Editor Charlotte Wanhill wins the ‘Most Screens’ competition. Her dining room table is now taken over by “5 screens, a laptop and a desktop and various peripherals”.

While both Charlotte and her husband are busy with their workload, their 6-year-old daughter is having the time of her life. “Her social life is better than ours”, she says.

“We love being together, so we are having a great time considering.”

For some of our team, our bedrooms have also become studios; our wardrobes, temporary voiceover booths. But the work hazard that no one can plan for is noisy neighbours.

Even through closed windows and a fully stocked wardrobe, my neighbour’s rendition of ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ can still be heard through my phone recordings. Coolio would not be impressed.

Using my wardrobe like a pro. Who needs a soundbooth? Photo / Tracey Kata

Reporter Soana Aholelei’s neighbours like to have phone conversations that everyone can hear. “I can hear them playing loudly,” she says. “It’s all good, but when you’re trying to work, interview or do a piece to camera outside, it can be trying.”

Presenter/Reporter John Pulu is competing with barking dogs and lawnmowers. “It can be a little tricky because the mic picks up everything,” he says. I seriously think “tricky” is an understatement in this situation.

For John, the upside to working from home is getting to spend more time with loved ones, and not having to sit in traffic. “Much better for the environment!”

Reporter Anauli Karima Fai’ai is a self-proclaimed introvert, and so working from home has probably been a secret dream of his. “The only real challenge has been walking to the fridge every five minutes,” he says.

“My routine hasn’t really changed since we’ve started working from home, although it has been nice rolling out of bed straight into my office chair.”

His tip for those in similar circumstances is to find an activity that will get them out of their rooms every now and then, and for Anauli, it’s reading outdoors.

Anauli in his bubble, within a bubble. Photo / Supplied

There are also those of us who live alone, and for them having a routine is key. Videographer/Reporter Alice Lolohea is up by 7am so she’s not tempted to sleep in.

Her office set-up is “simple and functional” – a bean bag with a coffee table in the corner of her room – although “it’s not the best support for someone with reoccurring back pain,” she says. “I’m gonna come out of this lockdown with the posture of Quasimodo!”

Alice looking very un-Quasimodo-like in her corner of the world. Photo / Supplied

Everyone should have friends like our Wellington reporter Johnson Raela’s. They seem to have all the gear and tech required if you need a quick home set-up. “One friend lent me a monitor screen, wireless keyboard and mouse,” he says.

“Another friend also lent me an extra camera lens for my Canon DSLR and voiceover equipment (mic, mixer and cords etc), which means I can send up quality footage and voice tracks for stories.”

He also has the best tips to stay focused and visit the fridge less:

> Drink lots of water. Snacking can bite you in the butt
> Exercise! Even if it’s a walk around the block.
> Take regular breaks. Even to walk outside to your letter box. Just make sure your break doesn’t turn into a 2-hour break watching a movie like Sister Act 2 (oops, that’s just me).
> Set alarms! I have so many alarms set on my phone because I can lose track of time and miss my snack or lunch break (priorities).

Our Accounts Manager Jane Scott’s desk (top left) has an enviable view of Auckland’s West Coast. Photo / Supplied

Stay Connected

Subscribe to our mailing list to receive daily updates direct to your inbox!

*we hate spam as much as you do